Thursday, August 05, 2010

Estimates for the Culprits

David Wessel presents some estimates of the cost of various bailouts in an article for the WSJ called "Emerging Lessons from Fighting the Financial Crisis."  Wessel presents a lot of estimates of the cost of governmental intervention in the crisis (which are lower than originally projected) - that is the good news.  But here is the bad (some of the estimates are from the Blinder-Zandi paper previously mentioned):

Costs by FDIC to bailout failing banks - $71 billion
Costs to bailout AIG - $38 billion
Costs to bailout GM - $29 billion (contrary to the assertion of their CEO, GM has not paid us back)
Total for those three - $138 billion

Current costs to bailout Fannie and Freddie - $145 billion (which Zandi and Blinder estimate to grow to $305 billion before we are done).  An inexorable conclusion here is that even without assessing the long term costs of foolish behavior in the private sector at our expense ($138 billion) the cost of government folly is higher ($145 billion).  A second conclusion is that while the private sector may be momentary and declining, the long term government cost of bad decisions is only going to grow.

1 comment:

lloydl said...

Sadly, this all pales in comparison to the cost (just the money part) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.